Water is a basic human need. The average human can go for 21 days without food but can only go for one week without water. This is because 60 percent of the human body is made up of fluid. You can get water from different sources like fruits such as watermelon, milk, juices or soup, but drinking water is just the best source of water available. Sustainable Development Goal no. 6 seeks to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Access to safe drinking water is a necessary part of life because water is used on a daily basis and almost everything needs water to function. From cooking, washing, drinking, building to watering crops when the rain fails. Every aspect of humanity is wrapped into the use of water in all its forms.
One of the ways that we can ensure that the country is able to sustain its water resources is by water harvesting. This is according to Mr. John Kioli, the Executive Director and CEO of the Green Africa Foundation. Having conducted successful research on the impact of climate change and facilitated extensive grassroots sensitization on climate change, Mr. Kioli states that lack of sufficient water leads to conflicts, whether it be human to human conflict or animal to human conflict. The search for natural resources has always been the cause of these violent conflicts.
“In the Northern Frontier like Wajir, Tana River or Samburu, there have been too many cases of human and animal conflict over the availability of drinking water. When water is scarce there will be scuffles to get the natural resources thereby leading to conflicts that can be avoided” he spoke
The world population is growing and with it the need to expand the natural resources. Water being one of the crucial resources, it is important that we find ways of preserving it before it becomes too scarce that people have to fight over it.
Droughts and famines have not made it any easier on the natural water resources, dams are slowly drying up as river sources become pathways for animals or human traffic. Climate change has led to far too many streams, rivers and lakes to dry up which in turn causes water shortage especially during the dry seasons. If rain does not fall and fill the dams that provide the country with water, then there will be no water for human consumption or usage. And if there is no water for people then that poses a very dangerous health risk as disease will increase and lead to outbreaks. Crops that depend on irrigation will fail, and food production will decrease because many foods rely on water in the manufacturing stage; that alone causes a negative ripple effect to the livelihoods of so many people.
In Africa and most developing countries, we find that the search for water is a reality as girls and women are forced to walk many miles in order to get water for their daily use. In some areas like Turkana, you will see groups of women and a few girls with their containers on their heads or back in search of water. It is usually a long and treacherous journey that is sometimes dangerous yet necessary. To ensure that there is enough water supply for both consumption and usage we need to look at the importance of wetlands. Wetlands include swamps and marshes which are a very crucial natural resource that can help sustain agricultural productivity like planting vegetables for household use.
To ensure that Kenya is able to provide water and sanitation to its people, Mr. Kioli strongly suggests that the country should consider water harvesting as an option to save water.
“Areas like Kitui, Makueni or Lamu have seasonal rivers. Sand dams or dykes can be constructed during the rainy seasons. This water can then be effectively utilized by both the community and their animals whenever there is a water shortage.” He said “I advocate for the creation of more dams to add to the ones in use. This will even prevent so many people from digging boreholes which will eventually dry up having used up all the water”
Sustainable development is at the core of sanitation and water which is very crucial in poverty reduction, environmental sustainability and economic growth. Management of water resources ensures that we have affordable and safe drinking water, clean usable sanitation facilities which in turn encourages hygiene and a productive nation.
To be able to hit our 2030 goals of ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, Mr. Kioli also recommends that everyone should be taught efficient ways of using water. “Water wastage is a problem that affects mostly factories that use a lot of water in their manufacturing. Some factories do not really need pure water all the time, so they can have technologies that help reuse their water which will in turn reduce the gallons of water that go to waste,” he adds